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Candleston Castle

Visited July 2019

Location Merthyr Mawr, Bridgend
Entrance Fee No 
Railway Station Nearby No
Parking Yes 
Facilities Toilets


If you are looking for an example of an ivy-clad ruin, Candleston Castle near Brigend certainly fits the bill. It is  located in woodland but very close to the sand dunes of Merthyr Mawr so offers the best of both worlds to the visitor.






In a beautiful woodland setting, the castle is a short stroll from the car park. Although a castle has existed on this site since the twelfth century, the present day ruins are more of a fortified manor. The castle was built by the Cantelupe family, and Candleston is a corruption of that name.


The castle was small, consisting of a two storey tower containing storage rooms below and a solar for the family to live in above. On the side of the tower was a two storey hall range. As time went on the castle was rebuilt and altered, with the latest addition being a new range built onto the hall range in the seventeenth century.





The demise of the castle was mainly due to the proximity to the sand dunes at Merthyr Mawr, which are the second biggest area of dunes in Europe. The castle had been built on the edge of a village, known as Treganllaw. The village was several miles inland but the sand dunes started to engulf the village and eventually the local population had to abandon their homes. The castle was built slightly further back from the village and set on higher ground so it escaped the fate of Treganllaw. However, it became isolated without the surrounding village and with the agricultural land once attached to it also being taken by the dunes its value decreased and it became rarely used by its owners.


The last recorded use of the castle as a dwelling house was in the nineteenth century when local landowner Sir John Nicholl lived there while he waited for his mansion to be built at Merthyr Mawr. After that it was used as a farm building, before falling into a ruinous state and abandoned. 





The castle today is very ruinous and covered in ivy, standing lonely in the woods next to the sand dunes that engulfed its village. Many ghost stories are attached to the ruins, and it is easy to see how the wind rustling in the trees might sound a bit spooky. Although the castle is maintained it is quite overgrown in places so take care with small children that they don't trip or fall off concealed edges.


After visiting the castle we took a walk on the sand dunes. As I love a good lost village story I was secretly hoping to see some remains of the buildings, there are tales of storms revealing chimneys of houses and the remains of a windmill being visible but sadly there was nothing but sand, sand and more sand on the day we went.


It is a good place to take children though, they can have a walk through the woods, look at the castle, and then head on out to play in the sand on the dunes.


There are toilets in the car park but no other facilities nearby, although there was an ice cream van in the car park but I can not guarantee that it will be there all the time.


We combined a stop at Candleston with a trip to nearby Ogmore Castle, about a ten minute drive away.








More info:  Candleston Castle

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